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The Role of Government Reimbursement in Drug Shortages

  • Ali Yurukoglu
  • Eli Liebman
  • David B. Ridley

Beginning in the mid-2000s, the incidence of drug shortages rose, especially for generic injectable drugs such as anesthetics and chemotherapy treatments. We examine whether reimbursement changes contributed to the shortages, focusing on a reduction in Medicare Part B reimbursement to providers for drugs. We hypothesize that lower reimbursement put downward pressure on manufacturers’ prices which reduced manufacturers’ incentives to invest in capacity, reliability, and new launches. We show that, after the policy change, shortages rose more for drugs with (i) higher shares of patients insured by Medicare, (ii) greater decreases in provider reimbursement, and (iii) greater decreases in manufacturer prices.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17987.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17987.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17987
Note: HC HE IO
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  1. Jeffrey Clemens & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2012. "Do Physicians' Financial Incentives Affect Medical Treatment and Patient Health?," Discussion Papers 11-017, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. Crawford, Gregory S & Yurukoglu, Ali, 2011. "The Welfare Effects of Bundling in Multichannel Television Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 8370, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ernst R. Berndt, 2002. "Pharmaceuticals in U.S. Health Care: Determinants of Quantity and Price," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 45-66, Fall.
  4. Amy Finkelstein, 2004. "Static and Dynamic Effects of Health Policy: Evidence from the Vaccine Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 527-564.
  5. D. W. Carlton, 1976. "Market Behavior With Demand Uncertainty and Price Inflexibility," Working papers 179, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. James D. Dana, 2000. "Competition in Price and Availability when Availability is Unobservable," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1450, Econometric Society.
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